Nine years ago, Melyssa Jones and Monica Nungaray had a vision to show members of our military how much we appreciate their service by sending them care packages with some comforts from home. What started as an employee-driven initiative in Mercury’s Camarillo office, grew to six additional locations, including Los Angeles, Brea (three locations), Folsom and Rancho Cucamonga. Mercury employees, active-duty military and veterans joined forces to collect, pack and ship care packages for soldiers deployed to South Korea, Afghanistan and other locations around the world.
Jones and Nungaray never imagined the event would snowball from 12 boxes to nearly 1,500 care packages nine years later.
Nungaray’s eldest son served in the Marine Corps in Afghanistan and Iraq to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. “My son mentioned that some soldiers don’t receive mail or packages when deployed overseas,” Nungaray said. “These packages are our way of letting them know that we do think of them and appreciate their service. It’s a little touch of home to brighten their day.”
“Mercury is very supportive of the men and women who serve this great country,” said Mercury Insurance CEO and President, Gabe Tirador. “We employ a lot of veterans, and many employees have family who are serving, which is why I’m extremely proud of this grassroots event that has grown throughout the company. It gives us all a chance to say thank you to the members of our Nation’s Armed Services.”
Packages were filled with items requested by active-duty soldiers, including snacks, games, playing cards, magazines, toiletries, comfort food and a message from Mercury founder George Joseph, a World War II veteran. “It takes a special person to volunteer to protect the lives of others and our nation’s freedom, so, first and foremost, I thank you for your service,” wrote Joseph.
“It really feels good when you receive one of these care packages,” said Trent Carny, active-duty U.S. Navy, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3. “The food abroad is different and to get a little piece of home can change your outlook and make your day better. I always liked getting candies and crackers in the care packages, and I see a lot on the tables here today. So I’m gladly filling up these boxes with everyone here, because I know how it feels to receive one.”